Two synagogues in Marrakech’s old city sustained damage in the earthquake, Israeli Rabbi Doron Danino, who was in the city over the weekend, told The Jerusalem Post, in Morocco’s deadliest earthquake in six decades.Rabbi Danino stayed at a quaint hotel in the Mellah, Marrakech’s Jewish quarter. On Friday night, he prayed at the Al Fassayn Synagogue, which he described as having suffered “significant damage.” The following morning, he attended services at the Slat al-Azama Synagogue, which was “partially damaged.” This historic synagogue, believed to be founded by Sephardic Jews who fled Spain in 1492, also encompasses the Jewish Museum and Jewish Center. Its architectural beauty merges a traditional Moroccan riad with elegant zellij decorations. Notably, in the 1950s, it was renovated to incorporate a distinct section for women.Danino said that “after my dinner with the Haliva family in the Jewish quarter, as I settled in my hotel past 10:30 p.m., it felt as though a speeding train was passing.” This was the point at which the 6.8 Richter scale magnitude quake hit. “Given there’s no railway nearby, the sensation was bewildering. It was akin to the relentless vibrations of a washing machine in spin mode. Inside my room, furniture tumbled and cracks snaked across the walls. Peering outside, I saw debris cascading within the hotel compound. I stayed put in my room. When the tremors subsided, the grim sight of crumbled structures, including the Haliva’s residence where I had dined, greeted me.”
Damage to historic buildings
Overwhelmed by the ordeal, Danino expressed, "The buildings around me are in ruins. The quake's ferocity was unparalleled, and its duration felt interminable." He added, "Interestingly, the newer districts seemed to have weathered the quake better."
He also shared about his brief midday foray into the city. "The route out of my street was obstructed by huge boulders. Yet, I managed to explore the city for a couple of hours. The extent of devastation was truly heartbreaking."
Rabbi Danino's visit to Marrakech was part of an Israeli rabbinical delegation aimed at fostering interfaith relations in Morocco.